UF professor wins honors for special education work

Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.

Mary Brownell, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Florida, has received international honors for her impact on special education.

A leading scholar and policy expert in special education and teacher preparation, Brownell recently received the 2013 TED/Pearson Excellence in Teacher Education Award from the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children during the council’s annual meeting. The annual award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to teacher preparation in special education, the cultivation of future leaders in the field, or leadership in scholarly work and legislative advocacy.

Brownell co-directed three national centers addressing special education personnel policies and practices, and has advised national law and policy makers on improving the standards and practices of teacher preparation in special education.

She is the college’s top-funded researcher, attracting major federal grants on some of the most vital issues in education. She has generated more than $36 million in federal funding from the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs and its Institute of Education Sciences.

Last fall, the Office of Special Education Programs awarded $25 million—its largest grant ever—to Brownell and her UF co-researchers Paul Sindelar and Erica McCray. The funding supports their effort to create a national Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform Center at UF, charged with restructuring and improving teacher preparation in special education in 20 states.

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Buchholz High School students in the Distributive Education Club of America, or DECA, earned the following top awards in business law and ethics, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, marketing and other categories at the State Career Development Conference held recently in Orlando.

First place: David Daaka and Sam Coons for business law and ethics team case study; Kathryn Tecler for financial literacy promotion plan; Maria Vargas and Emma Stetter for entrepreneurship promotion project; and Israel Mobley and Anthony Moore for marketing communications team case study.

Second place: Danny Ospino and Colleen McIntosh for marketing communications team case study; Brielle LeClear and Sarah Bennett for learn and earn project; Olivia Sanchez, Jessica Ludlow and Emily Brinkley for fashion merchandising promotion plan; and Vanessa Brandt for hotel and lodging management.

Third place: DECA chapter for state charity project.

Fourth place: Wesley Lopez for principles of business management.

Fifth place: Chandler Blanchet and Chase Carty for travel and tourism marketing team case study.

First alternate: Marissa Lotfy, Jaime Umpleby, and Bailee Barker for community service project.

Gold level: Brand Hines, Fowler Brown, and Tiffany Ruggles for school-based enterprise report; and Olivia Sanchez and DECA officers for chapter annual business plan.

The first place winners will advance to the International Career Development Conference to be held on April 24 in Anaheim, Calif. Sixty-seven students from the Buchholz Academy of Entrepreneurship participated in the state competition.

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Gainesville cook Tami Conklin won a Blue Ribbon for “Family Favorite Roast” recipe through Just a Pinch Recipes, a recipe and coupon social network for home cooks. Conklin is one of 256 Gainesville residents sharing recipes with the social network.


Dr. Robert J. Feezor, assistant professor of surgery in the division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy in the University of Florida College of Medicine, returned recently from a two-week rotation at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest American hospital outside the United States and an American College of Surgeons Level 1 Trauma Center.

Freezor helped care for U.S. military members who needed urgent care after being critically injured in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Feezor, who has been on the UF faculty since 2008, is board-certified in general surgery and vascular surgery. He also serves as the assistant program director of vascular surgery, and his practice consists of open surgical and endovascular treatment of aortic pathology, peripheral and visceral occlusive disease, and dialysis access creation and maintenance.

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